Parks Canada and Indigenous partners celebrate ceremonial opening for Waterton Lakes National Park’s new visitor centre4 min read
WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK, AB, July 19, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Parks Canada provides visitors with high-quality and meaningful experiences across the country. Developing new and innovative programs and services enables more Canadians, including youth and newcomers, to experience the outdoors and learn about the natural environment and history.
Today, Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the ceremonial opening of the new Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre, which was funded through the Federal Infrastructure Investment Program. A community celebration to mark the occasion was attended by Ron Hallman, President and CEO of Parks Canada and Chief Roy Fox, Káínai Nation.
The new visitor centre, which officially opened to the public in February 2022, provides an interactive and welcoming space where visitors are introduced to the remarkable nature and culture of Waterton Lakes. Its design and overall appearance integrates into the iconic mountain scenery and community of Waterton Lakes, and offers many programs and services to park visitors as well as local residents. Open year‑round, this facility includes modern interpretive exhibits, interpretive programming, and visitor information and services.
Parks Canada worked with Indigenous partners from Káínai and Piikáni Nations to ensure materials developed for the centre reflect local Indigenous history, traditions, culture and connection to the area that is now Waterton Lakes National Park (Paahtómahksikimi – inner sacred lake in the mountains). Indoor and outdoor exhibits highlight the area’s substantial biodiversity, its unique landscapes and the effects that forces of nature like wind and wildfire have on the area’s animals and plants.
Across the country, Parks Canada is honoured to work in collaboration with Indigenous peoples to develop interpretive materials and activities at national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas with the goal of fostering a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, cultures and traditions.
Through infrastructure investments, the Government of Canada is protecting and conserving national treasures, while supporting local economies and contributing to growth in the tourism sector.
Parks Canada asks visitors to continue to respect public health guidelines while visiting our facilities. Visit our website for the most up-to-date information.
“Waterton Lakes National Park’s new visitor centre is the result of years of collaboration and hard work between the Government of Canada and local Indigenous partners. Canada has invested approximately $167 million in the park as part of the largest federal infrastructure investment program in the history of Parks Canada. This landmark project is an investment in the future. The visitor centre will welcome Canadians and visitors from around the world for years to come. It will provide opportunities to learn about the park’s environmental and cultural significance, including the area’s importance to local Indigenous communities.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“The new Waterton Lakes Centre is tangible proof that other governments are beginning to understand the significance and importance of our ways and lands towards a more meaningful relationship between the Nitsitapi and other North Americans. We are proud of the collaborative work that our Elders and historians have contributed in providing the essential information to the understanding representatives of the Waterton Lakes National Park and this relationship was based on mutual respect and trust. The Kainai Blood Tribe is always prepared to work with other governments on important matters however there has to be a sincere and trustworthy relationship between and amongst us and that includes the political leaders of the Federal Government. We thank everyone involved in the development of this centre and we hope that all visitors gain a better appreciation of the Nitsitapi perspective.”
Chief Roy Fox
“This beautiful facility will be a central hub in Waterton village for Parks Canada to welcome visitors and share the story of this land and its original inhabitants, and showcase the many wonderful experiences the national park has to offer. The centre’s interpretive elements, highlighting Blackfoot culture, are central to the building and to the experience it offers. Parks Canada is grateful to Indigenous communities and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers across the country who are partners in our goal of conserving natural and cultural heritage and preserving treasured places like Waterton Lakes for generations to come.”
President and CEO of Parks Canada
Waterton Lakes National Park, along with Glacier National Park in Montana, holds three joint designations: International Peace Park, World Heritage Site, and the first transboundary International Dark Sky Park (certified by the International Dark Sky Association). Both parks are also a part of broader Biosphere Reserves.
In Waterton Lakes National Park, approximately $167 million has been invested in projects through the Federal Infrastructure Investment Program, supporting high-quality and meaningful visitor experiences and helping to protect the environment. The Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Centre represents a significant investment under this program.
Waterton Lakes National Park is in Treaty 7 territory and has long been a place of significance for the region’s Indigenous peoples, including the Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot) peoples.
SOURCE Parks Canada
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